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Installing a nucleus of bees in the Flow Hive


#1

When I install a nucleus into the Flow Hive, is it ok to put the Flow supers on right away? Also, how do I feed the bees after installation? In the videos of installation I see online, there’s an upside down jar of sugar water that is placed over the hive, but I don’t see space for that in the Flow hive. Could I take the middle two flow frames out and place the sugar water upside down on top of the queen excluder, and then replace the flow frames when the bees no longer need to be fed?


New hive, wait to add Flow frame super?
#2

If you have bought a Nuc you will prolly only have 5,000 to 10,000 bees not enough to bring in nectar in this end of the year.

If anything you would need to make sure the Queen is laying and getting ready for the winter brood. They may come with some capped honey and pollen but you need to find out if it will see them through winter.


#3

Fair enough - but how do I feed them sugar water? (Also, I haven’t got my flow frames yet - they’re coming in the spring)


#4

Mix 2 Parts Sugar (NOT Corn Syrup!!) to 1 Part Boiling water (2:1). Stir in the Sugar and wait for it to dissolve.

Do Not Heat the Syrup!!

When cooled put in your feeder - what are you using as a feeder - is it a top feeder??

In winter you use Fondant as the moisture from the syrup will cause condensation in the hive - big NONO in winter.

In Spring the syrup is 1:1 so they can build comb


#5

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#6
  1. Obtain nucleus colony (nuc) consisting of 4-6 DEEP sized frames. There should be 2-3 frames of brood of all stages, a frame or 2 of honey and pollen and maybe an empty frame for expansion. Inspect the nuc before buying for a solid brood pattern.
  2. One by one, lift each frame out of the nucleus hive and place them in your BOTTOM Flow box that you have already set up nice and level. Leave the top Flow box in the house/garage for now.
  3. Make sure to place these nucleus frames in the middle of the Flow bottom box in the SAME order they came out of the nucleus box.
  4. Add the remaining 4-6 frames to the Flow bottom box until the box has 10 frames total. The bottom Flow box should look like this: EEDDDDDEEE. E= empty frame without comb and D= drawn frame that came with the nucleus colony that the bees have made comb on or “drawn”. (If it was a 5 frame nuc)
  5. If you want to hurry up the process of turning the “E’s” into “D’s” mix up some sugar syrup at 1 part HOT tap water and 1 part cane sugar. I use a 5 gallon bucket and fill it 1/3 full of sugar and 1/3 full of HOT tap water and mix it with my battery drill and drywall paddle. Let cool to room temperature. Get a good top feeder; this is the best imho because there is the least amount of drowned bees: http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/10-Frame-Hive-Top-Feeder-w_Floats/productinfo/688/ and keep it filled until at least 8 or 9 of the frames are drawn. Upside-down jar feeders just can’t feed enough bees to simulate a strong nectar flow. Once 8 or 9 frames are Drawn add a box…
  6. If you are in an area with no real winter: Remove the feeder and add your Flow super on top of the Flow bottom box. As soon as you see the bees depositing nectar in the Flow super, add the excluder between the bottom box and Flow super before the queen heads up there to join in the fun.
  7. If you have a winter: Add a second deep Flow box and move the outer most drawn frames from the bottom box up to that new box placing them in the same position so you have something like this EDEEEEEEED. This will entice the bees to work the new box. The bees will need an extra deep box to store enough honey for winter survival.
    Re-install feeder and continue feeding until 8 out of 10 of those frames are drawn. Remove feeder, add Flow super, wait for some nectar and add excluder.
  8. Check brood nest every 10-14 days for brood pattern, eggs, swarm cells. Eventually, you will get swarm cells and you will get a swarm. That’s a different lesson but lot’s of fun!
  9. Harvest some honey!
    Tip: Never feed sugar with the Flow super on or else you will be harvesting capped sugar syrup.
    Disclaimer: I’m in NJ and have never had to feed a nucleus colony. I keep mine in 3 deep high brood nests and they achieve that in the first year most of the time. It’s all about timing. During a really good nectar flow, we are all awesome beekeepers lol!

#7

Yes that is the caveat!!


#9

A few question below but first:
A bit about me and my situation that is driving my questions:

  1. Dallas TX US.
  2. Residential neighborhood, getting my side yard ready
    a. 8’ fence
    b. water source 20’ away
    c. planting pollen and nectar sources (year round variety)
  3. Flow Hive do to arrive in Dec 2015
  4. NUC arrive in March 2016
  5. stable platform
  6. Gravel around entire base to 10’ from hive

  1. Obtain nucleus colony (nuc) consisting of 4-6 DEEP sized frames. There should be 2-3 frames of brood of all stages, a frame or 2 of honey and pollen and maybe an empty frame for expansion. Inspect the nuc before buying for a solid brood pattern.
    a. Dont now that I will be able to inspect for they sell out round the area and ordered it last week, from what I understand a very reputable company (hope). We all pick up our NUC’s at a location in Downtown Dallas.
  2. One by one, lift each frame out of the nucleus hive and place them in your BOTTOM Flow box that you have already set up nice and level. Leave the top Flow box in the house/garage for now.
    a. This is great info. Been trying to understand when :slight_smile:
  3. Make sure to place these nucleus frames in the middle of the Flow bottom box in the SAME order they came out of the nucleus box.
  4. Add the remaining 4-6 frames to the Flow bottom box until the box has 10 frames total. The bottom Flow box should look like this: EEDDDDDEEE. E= empty frame without comb and D= drawn frame that came with the nucleus colony that the bees have made comb on or “drawn”. (If it was a 5 frame nuc)*
    a. I get the understanding of the pattern, What I am not sure of is
    b. 10 frames? looking at the Flow website, it looks like a 8 frames come with it. Do I need to buy 2 more frames. I am confused if the boxes come with 2 different sizes (8 frame box) or a (10 Frame box) I ask this for understand what top feeder to buy? if the boxes are different sizes the not wanting to buy the wrong one.
  5. If you want to hurry up the process of turning the “E’s” into “D’s” mix up some sugar syrup at 1 part HOT tap water and 1 part cane sugar. I use a 5 gallon bucket and fill it 1/3 full of sugar and 1/3 full of HOT tap water and mix it with my battery drill and drywall paddle. Let cool to room temperature. Get a good top feeder; this is the best imho because there is the least amount of drowned bees: http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/10-Frame-Hive-Top-Feeder-w_Floats/productinfo/688/1 and keep it filled until at least 8 or 9 of the frames are drawn. Upside-down jar feeders just can’t feed enough bees to simulate a strong nectar flow. Once 8 or 9 frames are Drawn add a box……*
    a. This got back to 4.i. not sure what to but (size) I would like to get it now, but was wanting to wait to see since I did not understand size.
  6. If you are in an area with no real winter: Remove the feeder and add your Flow super on top of the Flow bottom box. As soon as you see the bees depositing nectar in the Flow super, add the excluder between the bottom box and Flow super before the queen heads up there to join in the fun.
    a. WOW!! thank you, understanding the adding of the excluder is great.
    b. What would you think about Dallas type weather? We get maybe 1 or 2 snow days a winter. we do have may nights that will get below freezing, but may days in the winter will begin the mid 50’s weather and temp sings are great here. I guess my question is, What would you say a real winter is?
  7. If you have a winter: Add a second deep Flow box and move the outer most drawn frames from the bottom box up to that new box placing them in the same position so you have something like this EDEEEEEEED. This will entice the bees to work the new box. The bees will need an extra deep box to store enough honey for winter survival. Re-install feeder and continue feeding until 8 out of 10 of those frames are drawn. Remove feeder, add Flow super, wait for some nectar and add excluder.*
    a. What would you call a winter that would need a second deep? Would Dallas area need one?
    b. I also have read that, when winter comes and I maybe would want to leave the flow frame box on top and remove the excluder.
    …1, with this, I then may get close leaving winter and have brood in the flow frames? with a set up with out the flow frame, I understand that you could rotate the two deeps around so that the the bees/queen move to the top deep in the winter. This would let the bottom deep be remove all together? but if it is the flow frame, what do I do
  8. Check brood nest every 10-14 days for brood pattern, eggs, swarm cells. Eventually, you will get swarm cells and you will get a swarm. That’s a different lesson but lot’s of fun!*
    a. LOL ok, I am only wanting and really don’t think I have the space for more than 1 hive. So management, to keep down swarms and removing swarm cells?
  9. Harvest some honey!*
    Tip: Never feed sugar with the Flow super on or else you will be harvesting capped sugar syrup.
    Disclaimer: I’m in NJ and have never had to feed a nucleus colony. I keep mine in 3 deep high brood nests and they achieve that in the first year most of the time. It’s all about timing. During a really good nectar flow, we are all awesome beekeepers lol!
    a. How many deeps do you think I would need. There has been a lot of chat on here about the number one would need. If I start out with one brood box and one flow flow box. When would I know if I may want to ad a second brood box?

#10

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#11

Continuing the discussion from Installing a nucleus of bees in the Flow Hive:

Tough call: Beekeeping is very regional.


#12

Thank You so much, Your 2 post have been very informative and good again thank you


#13

Your spot on about the highly addictive part Dexter. I think the minimum number of hives would be 2 with provision for a third one. I like the preemptive swarm control strategy. It seems to be working for me.


#14

If this question has been asked please send me to the right location. For almost everything has been asked at this stage I am sure.

I am totally new to this. I have been attending monthly beekeeping classes as well as the full-day conference and classes in Houston this past spring.

Getting and installing my nuc I have ordered in March, what is next.

Do I put sugar patties/nutrient patties on top. Do I just provide them sugar water? If these are the wrong questions please help me ask the right one.


#15

Hi Marty
A decent supplier should tell you what to do to start with.
Look round and see if there is nectar to be had, is it warm and are there flowers out? A nuc can often do with a litre or so of sugar solution to start with then is often best left to its own devices. The bees will collect nectar to make wax and as food and pollen to build new bees at their own pace. They will build up healthily if not forced with sugar and pretend pollen patties. Don’t expect much honey from them the first season. In the UK I wouldn’t be putting on any Flow frames in their first year but be guided by folks in your bee club as to how much honey to expect.
Don’t put them in to a full size hive till they are bursting out of the nuc. Good luck and remember, the reply is only my opinion, somebody else’s might fulfil your expectations better.


#16

Okay I’d like to add to the series of questions. Getting close to bees arriving

I should be receiving the bees around 10 – noon on March 12. Forecast right now appears to be in mid-70s and mostly sunny and as we know the weather forecasts are perfect and nothing’s gonna change :slight_smile:

My curiosity is: is there a better time of day to install the NUC, should I do it as soon as I get home or should I wait till late evening or somewhere in between?


#17

If they have travelled far they will need to get out, evacuate themselves and orientate /scope out the locality.
As soon as you have set yourself up all the kit smoker, booted and suited - bee buddy/mentor/helper - I would say you are good to go unless it is stinking hot, pouring with rain or blowing a gale.

Have the base ready, tools and suit clean, frames ready, boxes, lid, crown board QX if required, feeder if it is a box of bees or the nuc is low on food.

Ask if the queen is marked - do they mark the queens for you?
If a Nuc it should have the queen laying with BIAS, (brood at all stages) ie full entourage of bees and stores (nectar and pollen).

Have fun!


#18

they will have traveled about 150 Miles. I believe they are closed up in there NUC at night so, by the time I get them to my house it will be Noon or so. That being said they will be closed up for better then 8 Hours, I am guessing.

I have been working with my “Mentor” and fill comfortable doing the NUC transfer by myself. My Mentor an I marked several queens in his hives this weekend.

And since I did not know aggressive bees from calm bees, until this weekend when we tackled his most aggressive hive 1st and then went immediately to another hive where it seemed like the bees were all asleep :slight_smile: and how aggressive they were. He has offered to help but I feel comfortable doing it myself. I will keep everyone posted and definitely will do a video of me transferring them.


#19

You can let them out as soon as possible so long as the weather is compliant (friendly) - It gets very exciting waiting


#20

Marty,

Your on your way !! With the personal time with that mentor you’might have questions but your brain should rationally get you thru the transfer process !

. Your Wx looks prefect. I just pulled up this current Dalles stats n conditions look perfect. Enjoy the process. Go with the FLOW ! :smiley: Gerald


#21

I like to let them settle down for a couple of hours. Bees don’t like being jostled. I wouldn’t open the nucleus right away, just set it next to the hive. Although it isn’t ideal, it is perfectly OK to leave hives (and nuclei) closed up for 3 days, even in nectar flow weather. Commercial beekeepers in the US do this all the time when they are shipping hives across the country. If you get home at noon, I would put them next to your flow hive, with their entrance facing the same direction as your hive entrance. Go and get some lunch. Give them an hour or two to calm down, then install at around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Don’t forget your bee suit, veil and smoker - it is a good time to get it all together, while you wait for the bees to settle.

I discourage you from installing them in the late evening - the bees will be aggressive and upset. I am suggesting 2 or 3pm as the time to give you a balance between letting the bees settle down, and giving yourself enough time not to rush the installation. The first time it will probably take you an hour. The second time, probably no more than 10 minutes. :smile:

Sounds like you have a very good mentor. Congratulations in finding him.

Dawn